From the 1910s to the 1950s, Edna Ferber (1885--1968) published a series of bestselling vels that made her one of Doubleday's highest-paid authors, earned her a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1925, and transformed her into a literary celebrity. She hosted dinner parties covered by the New York Times, lunched at the Algonquin Round Table with Dorothy Parker and Alexander Woollcott, and collaborated with George S. Kaufman on hit plays such as Dinner at Eight and Stage Door. In Edna Ferber's America, Eliza McGraw provides the first in-depth critical study of the author's vels, exploring their invative portrayals of characters from a diverse range of ethnicities and social classes.Best remembered today for the movies and musicals adapted from her works -- including classics like Giant and Show Boat -- Ferber attracted a devoted readership during her lifetime with engaging storylines focused on strong-willed individuals reshaping their lives, set amid a parama of regional landscapes. McGraw reveals that Ferber's vels convey a broad, nuanced vision of the United States as a multiethnic country.Framing her study with the theme of ethnic unease and insecurity, McGraw performs close readings of twelve Ferber vels: Dawn O'Hara (1911), Fanny Herself (1917), The Girls (1921), So Big (1924), Show Boat (1926), Cimarron (1929), American Beauty (1931), Come and Get It (1935), Saratoga Trunk (1941), Great Son (1945), Giant (1952), and Ice Palace (1958). McGraw explores the entwined topics of racial mixing and class as she argues that in Ferber's America, ethnic and social mobility challenge the reigning order, creating places that foster vitality and promise hope for the future.
Eliza McGraw received her doctorate in English from Vanderbilt University and is the author of Two Covenants: Representations of Twentieth-Century Jewishness. She lives in Washington, D.C., with her family.